I’m a Nurse and I Still Get Scared About Vaccinating My Kids
I'm not sure that there is a single more polarizing topic in the world of parenthood than vaccines. Honestly, if you look at issues like breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, working or staying home, attachment parenting or crying it out, nothing comes even close to the strong opinions that parents have about vaccines.
Probably because when it comes to vaccines, both sides of parents are concerned about their children's health and well-being in a very literal way. Parents who have immunocompromised children may literally be facing death from the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, while parents who have seen their child have a reaction to a vaccination may fear that not speaking up about the very real (but very small) risk of vaccine injury is the real danger.
And further complicating the issue is the fact that there is so much fear involved. Whether you choose to vaccinate your child or not, the decision seems based out of fear, doesn't it? Fear out of what could happen if you don't vaccinate. Fear out of what could happen if you do vaccinate. Either way, there's a lot of fear surrounding the issue. Which is why, in part, I think parents tend to get so heated about vaccines.
I have to admit that I am one of those parents who lives in a lot of fear about vaccines. I'm a nurse who has given probably hundreds of vaccines. I know literature, I've read the studies, I've done the research. I know that vaccines save lives. But I also know that, like any medications, vaccines come with a risk.
Now, those risks are extremely small. But because there are an enormous amount of trials and research that go into testing vaccines for safety before they are recommended, there are still some individuals who may have an adverse reaction to a vaccine. And that's what I worry about when vaccinating my own children. I have fully vaccinated all of my children on a somewhat delayed schedule. Not because I believe that spacing them out is a benefit necessarily (and actually, our pediatrician does not recommend spacing vaccines). It's because I like to watch very carefully for any adverse reaction after my children receive a vaccine. If they had several vaccines at a time, it would be more difficult to tell which vaccine could have caused the reaction than if they only had one at a time.
Although I have four children, the worries and fears I've had in seeing them all get vaccinated haven't really eased over the years. I think it's always a hard thing and although I feel confident that we made the right decision for our family in vaccinating, that doesn't mean that I don't worry every time they get a vaccine either. I totally get that fear. So moms, if you are the same way, know that you are not alone.
Do you worry about vaccinating your kids?